Heating and cooling account for nearly 65% of your energy bill. Controlling usage in these areas will have the largest impact on your utility budget.
Don’t block registers
Make sure all air registers are clear of furniture and not obstructed by curtains so that warmed/cooled air can circulate freely.
Reflect radiator heat
If your home has radiators, place heat-resistant reflectors between radiators and walls to help heat the room instead of the wall.
Mind the sun
During cold weather, take advantage of the sun’s warmth by keeping drapes open during daylight hours. To keep out the heat of the summer sun, close window shades and drapes in warm weather.
Avoid drafts and leaking
Using weather stripping or calk around windows and doors will help you keep the cold air in each summer and the warm air in each winter. It’s an inexpensive and easy way to keep you comfortable and save money.
Install gaskets behind outlets and switches. If you place your hand near an outlet or switch plate and can feel air coming through, inexpensive and easy-to-install gaskets can prevent unnecessary heat loss and air infiltration.
If possible, change the filter for your heating and air conditioning system monthly. This allows for easier air flow and lessens the strain on your system, saving you money and keeping you more comfortable.
Fans can help circulate air and keep you more comfortable. Turn fans off when not in the room. Fans cool people, not rooms.
Room air conditioning
Considering purchasing a room air conditioner? Purchase an ENERGY STAR® qualified model. They use at least 10 percent less energy than standard models.
In the winter, remove the window unit to prevent energy losses. Alternately, be sure to insulate room air conditioners from the outside with a tight-fitting a/c unit cover, available at your local home improvement center or hardware store. This keeps heated air from escaping outside. Be sure the window unit fits tightly in the window so outdoor air is not getting in.
Considering the use of space heaters? Purchase an ENERGY STAR qualified model.
Space heaters can be a great way to heat cold or drafty areas in your home or apartment. However, they also use a lot of energy and can significantly increase your electric bill. Use them sparingly. Never leave them unattended and always unplug them when leaving the room or house or going to bed. Do not use an extension cord for space heaters and never use one with a cord that is damaged or frayed.
If possible, install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings when you’re away or sleeping.
When used properly, a programmable thermostat with its four temperature settings can save up to $150 a year in energy costs. Proper use means setting the thermostat at energy-saving temperatures without overriding that setting. You should also set the “hold” button at a constant energy-saving temperature when you’re away or on vacation.